Self Appeal Pooch: Life Lessons from a Happy Dog

(This is the first blog in a series of three)

    In keeping with last month’s blog of perfect change, this month I’m introducing my blog as one that will occur three times a month instead of four.  I just couldn’t stay consistent with a weekly blog if I also wanted to send a newsletter.  That’s one of the gifts of living.  We’re able to make change and strive for what does work for us, instead of staying stuck in what doesn’t. 
     Since this is the time of year for gift giving, I’ve decided to share with you some of the self-appeal lessons I’ve learned from my four-legged furry teachers. Next month I’ll resume the Self Appeal process of dissecting a problem that plagues us women.   
     Bart, a ten-week old ball of puppy fur with ears and paws too big for the rest of his body, came to live with us about three and a half years ago.  I won’t go into how I learned to house train him—it was a brutal, gory affair and my hair has finally grown back—but I will say that the first lesson Bart taught [me] is to respect the living quarters. Leave your dirty business outside and don’t invite in others whom you don’t know well or who don’t respect you or your property.  Sometimes we have people in our lives, similar to Bart’s acquaintance, the possum, whom we don’t know well and who may have an agenda for their own concern.  They may cause us to feel badly about ourselves, negate or even belittle us. They don’t need to be invited into our personal sacred space. 
     Bart’s mom had been found eating out of a trash bin before he was born so we’re not sure of his heritage, but his reddish brown coat and his muzzle put our best guess at a German Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog mix. What makes him most handsome is his infectious smile and that he’s always ready for play. The short stumpy tail he was born with wags excitedly whenever anyone comes home, comes over, or runs in the yard. Bart demonstrates, don’t be so serious and focused all the time. Life is too short to be working, even on a workday! Always be ready to throw the ball, play tug of war with the rope, smile, wag your tail, or hand in we human’s case.
     The most important lesson Bart reinforces that helps build self appeal is, stay in the present moment. When I throw the ball, he retrieves it and occasionally he’ll get a treat when he does. He knows this so he gets excited when I move my arm backwards to pitch the ball, and he starts running in the direction he thinks itwill land.  By doing this, he misses where it actually does land.  Then he runs in circles, searching frantically, exhausting himself. Usually he doesn’t find the ball and doesn’t get the reward that was rightfully his if only he’d stayed present, yet watched where the ball landed to bring it back.
     It’s often easy to live in the past. You reflect and rethink conversations and scenarios; “I should have said ….” Or, “I should have done ….” And it’s just as easy to live in the future, planning, anticipating, even worrying over what may happen. But if you’re living in the past or the future, it’s easier to run off on a tangent and not stay grounded in what your values, goals, and purpose are today and therefore, miss out on the presents that are present.
     Follow Bart’s examples for life,

  • don’t soil your own area
  • always be ready for play
  • stay in the present moment,

and create a deeper more healthful relationship with yourself.